We were able to check off another bucket list agenda item today - Neuschwanstein Castle! We left one of our favorite Airbnb's and said goodbye to our lovely hosts, Doris and Norbert. After about four hours on the road, we arrived in the village of Schwangau in Bavaria, Germany to see this stunning sight up on the hill...
In keeping with our mission to see Disney-inspired places on our journey, this dramatic castle served as the inspiration for Maleficent's castle in Sleeping Beauty, as well as the much-loved castle at Disneyworld.
We chose to go full-on fairytale and take a horse and carriage ride up the hill. So worth it!
We arrived at the top in time to poke around a little before starting our scheduled tour. It is very very important to book tickets well in advance because they do sell out. In fact, we had originally planned to visit Neuschwanstein about ten days ago, but tours were sold out, so we had to change our entire itinerary to make this work. They have tours every 5 minutes with groups of about 30 people and they still book up, so make sure to plan ahead! Even without tickets though, you can walk around the beautiful exterior for free.
Here's Hirsh channeling his inner king...
The tour of the inside lasts only about 30 minutes but it's well worth it. The interesting thing about this castle is that it's relatively new compared to most castles in Europe - construction having been completed in 1886 - so it has a very different style and feel from other castles we've seen. This castle has it all: dramatic architecture, sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and creature comforts like running water. Seeing the King's bedroom alone is worth the price of admission.
No pictures allowed inside, of course (and we don't mess around with German rules), so we had to wait until we got outside the living quarters to take a few more.
And after all that grandeur, we made the drive back to our favorite Munich hotel, the Ibis Styles. If you don't know about Ibis, it's the extremely economical hotel-in-a-box popular with post-grad students who've outgrown the hostel scene. The only real difference is that they put sheets on the bed for you and provide towels. Each room comes equipped with a double bed and a twin bunk on top to help ease the transition from hostel living. The beds are so hard, we use the duvet from the top bunk as a too-small makeshift mattress pad, and it makes sleeping actually possible. We also use the top bunk as our dining area for take-out pizza. Because let's be real - we're not going out to a fancy dinner just to come back to the Ibis. Go cheap or go home, and we're not ready to come home yet!